It’s impossible to stay healthy if you’re on a budget, right?
It can seem that way whenever we shop at Whole Foods or pick up a carton of $US5 berries.
However, eating healthfully on a shoestring budget is possible, according to the experts.
Although buying affordable, nutritious foods is a good start, there’s more to it than filling your cart with certain ingredients, says Rania Batayneh, MPH, nutritionist and author of “The One One One Diet.”
Here are her top five tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank:
1. Order online. You can typically get better costs online (try Amazon) than at traditional retailers, and many food items are eligible for free shipping if your Amazon order exceeds $US35 (look for “eligible for FREE Shipping” next to the price). Not to mention, ordering online will save you a few trips to the grocery store.
Just steer clear of putting tempting snacks and sweets in your virtual cart.
2. Buy in bulk. “Warehouse shopping can be a bit overwhelming,” admits Batayneh, “But there are advantages to buying in bulk.” You won’t have to make as many shopping trips, and you’re sure to save a bunch of money in the long run.
This is a great option when you’re purchasing healthy snacks, such as nuts and energy bars, or other ingredients that don’t have a short shelf life, like dried beans, lentils, and oats.
Batayneh’s go-to is Costco: “I always pick up the two ounce singles of Sabra hummus. It’s a 16-count box, and the singles are great for the on-the-go lifestyle paired with vegetables.” Other places to buy in bulk are BJ’s, Sam’s Club, or Amazon.
3. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. “Shopping when you’re hungry can lead to bad decisions, as your cravings for processed, packaged foods are difficult to control,” explains Batayneh. This could also make you more prone to overspending on wants rather than needs. She suggests eating a healthy snack before picking up groceries.
4. Eat seasonally.
“Seasonal fruits and vegetables are cheaper, but they also taste way better,” Batayneh tells us. “That’s a benefit for both your wallet and your waistline, as their peak freshness adds flavour to your recipes so that you don’t have to rely on extra salt, fat, or sugar.”
Consult this handy graphic to determine what’s currently in season.
5. Subscribe to cooking websites or your favourite company’s newsletter. This takes less than five minutes and can help you save, as they will alert you of sales, discounts, or free shipping deals. Another perk: “Some also have great recipes that you can start to make at home,” says Batayneh.
Batayneh likes MarthaStewart.com, and also recommends looking at Pinterest to find recipes (use #foodporn).